Negotiating in Life, Negotiating Tips, Negotiation Strategies, Business Negotiation October 8, 2010

Negotiation: How to probe effectively.

In any business negotiation, information is power. The more information you have, the better your position. Getting more information from the other party is always a challenge. In order to extract information, you’ll have to probe effectively.

There are several probing methods, but we will talk about two. First is the “what if” or "would you consider" technique.

Dr. Chester L. Karrass writes: “Few approaches to bargaining yield as much information and opportunity for win-win negotiations as the ‘what-if’ technique.’”

To use the “what if” or "would you consider" technique, you have to add some creativity. You are going to be presenting the other party with some scenarios. Here are a few examples:

* What if we give you a three-year contract? or Would you consider a three-year contract?

* What if we modify the specifications? or Would you consider changing the specifications?

* What if we buy your entire line of products? or Would you consider purchasing our entire line?

* What if we pay in cash? or Would you consider paying cash?

* What if we provide our own shipping? or Would you consider using your own trucks?

By using what-if scenarios (or would-you-consider), you are probing into the other party’s motivations, and acquiring insight that would have otherwise not been available. In some cases, what ifs can lead to unanticipated trade-offs.

Another useful technique is called the “planning purpose trap.” It is fairly simple and works like this: the buyer tells the seller that “for planning purposes” he/she need an idea of what a product/service will cost in the future, and emphasizes that it can be a ballpark estimate. The seller then makes a quick estimate, which often tends to be on the low side, to keep the buyer interested. The seller has now made it very hard to increase the price later, but has also revealed a cost that is does not have lots of padding.

There are several other ways to probe—just make sure you are getting the information you need without shutting down the other party.

What techniques have you used to obtain valuable information in a business negotiation?

THE PROGRAM WAS GREAT! MY SEMINAR LEADER AND THE STRUCTURE OF THE COURSE KEPT ME CONSTANTLY STIMULATED. I NOW AM BETTER PREPARED TO GO INTO AN IMPORTANT NEGOTIATION MEETING AND STAY IN CONTROL, WHILE FINISHING THE MEETING SATISFIED.

Deanna D.
CASE MANAGER at THE JACKSON LABORATORY

IF YOU HAVE THE TRAINING BUDGET AND TWO DAYS TO SPARE, YOU'LL STRUGGLE TO FIND A PROGRAM MORE FAR-REACHING, ON-POINT, AND INSTANTLY IMPLEMENTABLE.

Jeff G.
BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER at THE M.K. MORSE COMPANY

EXCELLENT COURSE, BRINGS MORE CONFIDENCE IN MY ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE. I THINK THIS COURSE IS A MUST FOR ALL EMPLOYEES WHO DEAL WITH CUSTOMERS.

John S.
CHIEF ENGINEERING MANAGER at EXXONMOBIL

THIS WAS VERY EFFECTIVE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON BOTH-WIN NEGOTIATING.

Kathleen L.
SENIOR ANALYST at BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN

THE KARRASS CLASS WAS THE SINGLE BEST TRAINING CLASS/SEMINAR I HAVE EVER ATTENDED. EVERY TIME WE DID AN EXERCISE IT TAUGHT YOU WHAT TO DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME. THANKS.

Kim C.
PROCUREMENT at AMERICAN EXPRESS

THIS PROGRAM HAS GREATLY INCREASED MY CONFIDENCE AND ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE FOR MYSELF AS WELL AS MY COMPANY.

LaDonna E.
SENIOR STRATEGIC BUYER at HALLMARK

THE NEGOTIATING CLASS WAS VERY INFORMATIVE. THE INSTRUCTOR PROVIDED AN INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE THAT CAN BE APPLIED TO EVERYDAY LIFE.

Mary S.
INTERNATIONAL SOURCING at FMC TECHNOLOGIES

WE NEGOTIATE EVERY DAY OF OUR LIVES, BOTH PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY. THIS COURSE DEFINES THE PROCESS AND PROVIDES TECHNIQUES TO ACHIEVE SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.

Phillip H.
VICE PRESIDENT at GE

PRIOR TO THIS CLASS I FELT AS THOUGH I WAS GETTING EATEN ALIVE BY INTERNAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH SALES REPS. NOW I FEEL PREPARED TO CHALLENGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING AND BET TO THEIR REAL NEEDS.

Steve Q.
PLANNER at HONEYWELL

MANY PEOPLE FAIL TO ACHIEVE THEIR POTENTIAL BECAUSE THEY DON’T SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES TO NEGOTIATE A WIN/WIN AGREEMENT WITH THEIR COLLEAGUES. THIS CLASS IS AN EYE OPENER TO THIS DYNAMIC..

Stuart B.
CONTRACTS MANAGER at HEWLETT-PACKARD
Contact US
[email protected][email protected]+1 323 866-3800
SEMINARS
About Us
AboutDR. CHESTER KARRASSGARY KARRASSFAQGLOSSARYPRIVACY POLICYBLOG
QUICK LINKS